AdvoCat 2008 11

Happy Thanksgiving Friend of Big Cat Rescue!

During this time that we have set aside to be thankful for all our blessings, I count you at the top of the list.  As I blow kisses out to all of you, would you consider Kissing a Big Cat (figuratively of course)?  This is our 16th year and we are celebrating it as Sweet 16 and Never Been Kissed.  Each month for the next 16 months we will feature one of our 16 species of wild cat, share the story of one member of that clan, and ask you to “Kiss” them with a donation.  This month you get an 8×10 glossy photo of the cat who started Big Cat Rescue and at the bottom it says, “YOUR NAME Kissed Windsong the Bobcat”  Send a  Kiss to her here:


Carole Baskin, Founder




  The Cats Got Pumpkins, Now Want Turkeys!

Leopard by Julie HananFall may be the cats’ favorite time of year.  With the cooler weather they are all a lot friskier.  The best part of the fall comes in the form of pumpkins and turkeys though.  Every year local pumpkin stands donate their unsold pumpkins after Halloween and every year the cats go wild smashing them, drowning them and carrying them around like they were prized possessions.  The only thing better than getting a pumpkin is getting your own turkey, chicken or cornish hen.  You can provide hours of fun and a great meal for the big cats by buying them the biggest bird you can afford at the link below.  Sorry, to protect our cats’ health we do not accept food from outside of our regular vendors.

To see 52 grrreat photos of cats playing with pumpkins by Julie Hanan:

Watch the video of Khan, China, TJ and Bella getting theirs is at:

Be sure to click “Watch in High Quality” under the video box on the right side.


  Live Tiger Mascots Are Losers

The tiger mascot of the University of Memphis (TN), Tom II, has died from cancer.

The Highland Hundred Booster Club ignored our pleas and got a cub from a place that calls itself a sanctuary, but keeps having “accidental” cubs time and time again.

Please take a moment to write to University officials, the Booster Club President, and several corporate Club sponsors to let them know that replacing Tom II with another tiger supports the captive exotic cat trade and is a disastrous decision.

Meanwhile there are some big cat teams who are really doing something to save the tigers, rather than using them as props. Clemson University, the University of Missouri and Auburn University are teaming up to promote Tigers 4 Tigers. All 3 of these schools have tigers as their mascot, and instead of having real tigers they are promoting conservation. The 3 schools are challenging each other to see who raises the most money to save tigers in the wild.  The tiger to tiger challenge link is:

  Big Cat Art Show


Tiger by Julie HananFin, Fur and Feathers is the name of the animal themed art show and sale hosted by Tampa Realistic Artists.  The show will be held at the Old Hyde Park Art Center at 705 Swann Av Tampa, FL 33606 from Nov. 26th until December 12.  The gallery will donate all commissions during the sale to Big Cat Rescue and many of the artists are donating an additional percentage of their sales to the big cats too.  Come join the party on Sunday, December 7 from 3 till 6 where you can enjoy door prizes and raffles too.  This is a great way to do your holiday shopping while supporting Big Cat Rescue. Find out more at:


Marble Plaques and 20% Matching Funds for Cages

Donor signThe sign shown here sits by the tiger cages at the front of the sanctuary and contains the names of generous donors who have helped fund reconstruction of our older cages.  We have room for more, and for a limited time these donations can also be leveraged with 20% matching funds from the Birdies for Tampa Bay Charities program.  If you are contemplating a year end donation, this is an excellent way to help us build the best enclosures we can for the cats and earn the 20% match to help support them.  Click below for details and how to donate and have your name etched in stone.

  USDA Comment Period on Contingency Plans

USDA is proposing to amend the Animal Welfare Act to add requirements for disaster contingency planning and training for those who trade in exotic animals.  We are all for their recommendations, but we don’t think they go far enough.  Since it can take many years for USDA to peel through all of the layers of bureaucracy to change a rule, we are asking that they do something far more useful during this session of public comment.

Siberian Lynx by Julie HananThe biggest disasters to affect big cats have not been acts of God, but rather acts of irresponsibility.  People buy big cats that they cannot afford to keep.  Breeders sell cats they won’t take back when it doesn’t work out.  Zoos breed babies to attract the public, then discard the prior years’ babies to make room.  Plans are only as good as their implementation.  As long as people will behave badly, the big cats will continue to be bred and discarded. The solution is not enforcement of rules. It is simply not possible to allocate enough money and staffing to do it effectively. As long as we allow the trade in exotic animals, abuse will abound. The ONLY solution is to End the trade in wild cats. That is what we are asking USDA to do.

You only have until Dec. 22 to let them know you feel the same way.

  A Year in Video at Big Cat Rescue

Every year at the Fur Ball our President, Jamie Veronica, unleashes a five minute video that captures the previous year of rescues.  Tune in to see the heart warming and heart breaking stories of the cats you helped us save.


  Thanksgiving Crafts, Games & Puzzles

See what the big cats do with pumpkins. These pages will keep your kids amused (and out of the kitchen) for hours.  Decorate your computer with our Thanksgiving themed wallpapers and screen savers.  It is a great way to share your support of the big cats with the visiting cousins too!

  2009 Big Cat Calendars and Holiday Shopping

Big Cat Calendar24 hours in a day and 7 days a week – something we are all equally given. However, it’s many times, the ones of us who keep ourselves organized with a good calendar who seem to be on top of our games. Get yours now!  Here’s to a great 2009.

Jessica has added dozens of new items to our Big Cat Store.  Get your shopping done early and help save the big cats too:


  Fun Ways To Share With Animal Lovers

One of the biggest contributors to the number of tigers that languish in cages is the “edu-tain-ment” industry.  They breed babies to take out to schools, talk shows, flea markets and parking lots;  all under the noble guise of “conservation.”  Many pseudo sanctuaries continue to endanger the cats and the public by taking the cats on the road and they say it is the only way to get their message across.

Big Cat Rescue proves time and time again that these are all just excuses.  Our education department is in such high demand (without real cats being dragged off site) that we recently had to recruit off site volunteers called AdvoCats to cover one of our events.  Read about the fun and sharing these two did at the SPCA pet walk and get some ideas about how you could do the same.  All it takes is a little imagination!


  Remembering Haley


Many of you remember the tragic incident involving high school senior Haley Hilderbrand, who was mauled to death by a tiger during a photo shoot at Lost Creek Animal Sanctuary in Kansas in 2005.

Marcus Cook Zoo Dynamics Zoo CatsBig Cat Rescue, along with many other organizations, continues to lobby for tougher laws regarding the possession and exhibition of big cats. In addition, Big Cat Rescue is using its site,, to alert supporters of the traveling menageries that show up at fairs and festivals all over the country.

One such festival is called Neewollah. It is held in Independence, Kansas, near Haley’s home. This past year, one of the most notorious of all traveling big cat shows, Marcus Cook (now operating under the name of Zoo Dynamics), set up shop and exposed his brand of “edutainment” to 65,000 visitors. Remembering Haley and her tragic death, we must continue to work hard to put a stop to the exploitation of these great cats.

Please take a moment to click this link and send a letter to the 2009 Neewollah Festival planners asking them not to foster abuse by having big cats exhibited at their show next year:
It is only with your effort and continued support that we can protect our children, and work to protect the cats as well.

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